“Māori and Pasifika” the new bywords for “working class”

54
1966

When was the last time a journalist or commentator used the term working class in a news report or opinion column? A long time ago I’m guessing.

Not that the media has ever used “working class” to report on class issues. Middle class is commonly used but working class or ruling class don’t make the grade. One of our national myths involves European settlers arriving here determined not to replicate the bitter class divisions of the Britain they had left for a better life here. “Jack was as good as his master” was how this myth was expressed. Needless to say it was never a reality. Access to capital meant the social and economic structures of colonial settlement was based firmly on class. Not being seen to flaunt one’s wealth was the only concession to classlessness – a point abandoned since the 1980s Rogernomics revolution.

Possibly its only lasting legacy is the relative informality of dress here but that owes more to the climate than avoiding class divisions. John Key drinking beer from a bottle at a barbecue is meant to tell us we are all equal when in reality we are one of the most unequal countries in the world.

Today’s media reporting of economic and social issues never uses the term working class but instead focuses on the disproportionate impact of government policies on Māori and Pasifika. The problem is seen as the disproportion rather than the policies themselves.

This focus on the disproportionate impact of economic and social polices on Māori and Pasifika is not a problem in itself – it reflects institutional racism and our long history of colonisation which are critical issues Aotearoa New Zealand must tackle head on. Te Tiriti o Waitangi has been abused for 180 years and facing this and its legacy which reverberates in the present is critically important. The new developing and redeveloping partnerships between Crown and Māori point to a positive way forward.

Many bloggers, myself included, have focused on this in many different contexts such as when talking about housing, imprisonment rates, health, education and even taxes.

Yes – it’s true that Māori and Pasifika pay a higher proportion of their incomes in tax than anyone else – not because the tax system discriminates against them on the basis of race but because they are disproportionately in the working class who are the target of savage tax rates compared to the super-wealthy billionaire class.

It’s also true that 62% of the state house waiting list are Māori and Pasifika but it’s also critical to note that 100% of those on the state house waiting list are working class New Zealanders.

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At one time we would have expected the trade union movement to champion the needs of the working class as it faces discrimination in health, education, housing and taxation policies for example but the largest private sector union is joined at the hip to the Labour Party and the Council of Trade unions is dominated by the relatively well-paid workers in the public sector unions. There is no leadership on these issues.

The media use of Māori and Pasifika as bywords for working class has also been driven by the current focus on identity politics. Race, gender and even religious identity now occupy the high ground in political discussion while the working class as a whole are left to fend for themselves.

Issues of identity getting a decent and long-awaited public airing is a healthy sign because identity is important to all of us. We all deserve to feel accepted for who we are and comfortable in society’s view of us.

But why is the media focused so strongly on identity politics rather than seeing our economic and social policies from a working-class perspective? For the same reason it has always avoided talk of working-class struggles. The private sector media are dependent on income from the big corporates who advertise online, on radio and in newspapers. The first priority is to get our eyeballs on the advertisements they carry while the private sector media fill the decreasingly small gaps between the adds with news stories.

Identity issues are a more comfortable fit for the media, avoiding the awkwardness of upsetting advertisers and the big corporates behind them.

At least two initiatives I’m aware of will be attempting to engage the country on the key class issues of housing and taxation in 2022 where the focus will be on class rather than identity politics.

We will need to drive these issues ourselves – the media will be slow followers – if at all.

 

54 COMMENTS

  1. Agree John about class and huge division in wealth. Focus should be on lifting people out of poverty so they can have a decent life, have a secure warm dry home to live in and access to good health care. If this was achieved, our country would be in much better shape. More like NZ in the 60s where I grew up

  2. You say we all deserve to feel accepted for who we are and comfortable in society’s view of us. Why not what we are? Who we are regarding race, gender, and religion is insignificant compared to what we do and say in our daily interactions. Being kind, considerate, helpful, caring, or loving, as opposed to using blame, criticism, punishment, hurting, demeaning and being selfish, overrides any supposed status, position, race, gender or religious identity.

  3. A well-aimed arrow.

    15% GST on all essentials punishes those on low incomes (thanks Roger Douglas and John Key). Prog acquaintances like to talk about how “right-wing” Australia is, possibly unaware that over the ditch there is no GST on most essentials including food, or that the top income tax rate in Oz is 45% as opposed to our 39%.

    Ardern is a thorough-going identitarian, as opposed to a traditional leftist. The signs were there right from the start when she announced that “women” were one of her top three priorities. An extraordinary declaration in a country where so many stats show show men in trouble, especially working-class men who do the dirty, dangerous jobs.

    She also named ‘inequality” as one of her top three priorities. We now know she meant average income and wealth across ethnic groups, rather than inequality among individuals.

    • …”An extraordinary declaration in a country where so many stats show show men in trouble, especially working-class men who do the dirty, dangerous jobs”..

      Precisely. And again.

      …”She also named ‘inequality” as one of her top three priorities. We now know she meant average income and wealth across ethnic groups, rather than inequality among individuals”…’especially working-class men who do the dirty, dangerous jobs’? and get paid for shit?!!?

      Where’s my ‘Yeah Right’ billboard?

      I’ll give yer something else instead.

      Deep Purple – No One Came
      https://youtu.be/luVXf9UpCiM?t=4

      Men’s Lives Don’t Matter???

      Mhmmm? aka the failing rates among male academics, suicide rates and wages and conditions

  4. I agree that housing and taxation are two issues which need to be addressed, debated and thought of in 2022 because the economic, social, and cultural factors, & potential repercussions for the future of this Nation, are immense.

    With housing, anything that either party has come up with and seriously acted upon in the last two decades or perhaps even longer than that, has been minimal. Why not announce a buy back of the old State houses in the interest of National security and safety? There are scores of these little residences, now in private hands, simply sitting there and waiting for the government to repurchase them for the vulnerable and needy. Of course, we’ve borrowed money due to the pandemic, but still have credit available of course and that project will be worthwhile. South Auckland homelessness will he diminished. Re-start the drug & alcohol clinics that have been closed, and people will not only be housed but clean and sober. It will provide jobs to those who’ve invested time, money and energy in earning a counseling degree, which is a lot of people in this country.

    • good idea but it would only work if we only reimbursed the original selling price…not even the govt can afford a million per house.

      • They would if they could dismantle the Reserve Bank Act. And returned the Reserve Bank under direct govt control instead of global free market fluctuations, Uh?
        Did we even as a sovereign nation get any say in that, yeah?

        NO.

        They just did that to us. Time for all neo liberals to answer up. And take the penalty for treason.

  5. The most astonishing example of this was recent report highlighted by the Green Party which showed that Pakeha beneficiaries were paying $11 in debt repayments, on average, a week while Maori were paying $16 per week.
    So the issue was not “why is WINZ indebting those in poverty” but “why are Maori $5 more indebted than Pakeha.” The implication being that if only both were paying the same per week everything would be great.

    Like the author I am a full supporter of the treaty process and holding ourselves accountable as a nation for historical injustice but sometimes identity can cloud the more fundamental economic issues – which are class based and require class based solutions.

    My view of unions has changed a lot and I now think that they are no different to investors – their only concern is small group of stake holders within an organization i.e. their current membership and nothing beyond that. Unions share and go along with the concerns of an organizations management and act as a plug on worker discontent. We should view Unions as another enemy of the working class and they will need to be confronted and challenged as much as any one else in a fight for economic reform.

    • Like the author I am a full supporter of the treaty process and holding ourselves accountable as a nation for historical injustice but sometimes identity can cloud the more fundamental economic issues – which are :

      ”CLASS BASED AND REQUIRE CLASS BASED SOLUTIONS”.

      Precisely.

  6. It seems to me that that economic ‘Pie’ has been sliced a few too many times. So much so there is nothing left to share.

    Yep. For the last 5 years or more, I’ve experienced diminishing support for people who are poor, from the union sector.
    They’ve been discriminatory most of the time but when it comes to an election! They suck up to the poor working class and feed them full of hope and expectation so much so that you’d think that they mean it!

    Lil ole NZ has been divided for quite some time and it is only becoming more apparent in times like these. Austerity is still a thing!
    When social support agencies have to be relied on by the working poor to feed their families by collecting food parcels,11 million (3000+ tonnes of food) so far this year!

    1.1 Billion dollars of debt accumulated with MSD/WINZ that will never be paid back with mounting motel costs added every week.

    Poor people probably work the hardest in NZ just to survive let alone live.

    Merry Xmas to those that believe in it, because I surely don’t.

    • While I have usually found this blokes comments to contain more than his fair share of hyperbole, and nonsense, I have to say, that as one who has spent almost half his adult life living, and working overseas, I have come back to discover that NZ has become one of, if not the most expensive countries in the world relative to wages, and to have the least amount of choices… I would pay more in rent for a packing crate done out with a bed, light switch, and a microwave oven, or gas hotplate that requires the tenant to supply the gas cylinder, and if one is lucky, a toilet that isn’t shared with ten other people, than I ever did anywhere else in the world, Of course, if we were to add third world countries to that list, then NZ would come in about halfway down the field… NZ has become a nation of slaves , working to stay alive for the benefit of wealthy land owners… Sound familiar? It should, because that was the original colonial plan to start with… Yay, they’ve succeeded at last!! yay, and god bless mother England for sharing her economic miracles with us!!

  7. It has always been a class war, even when heavily disguised or ignored. The tongues of the boss class have always been the most powerful weapon against the working class. The voices of the working class need to be echoed in the media and the only way that can happen is for the working class to organise.

  8. You say, “We all deserve to feel accepted for who we are and comfortable in society’s view of us.” That’s debatable because what we are – caring, considerate, supportive, fair, generous, just, honest – far outweighs race, gender and religious beliefs. Our identity is given to us by those with whom we interact, not by conforming to imposed beliefs. If we are mean, selfish, greedy, a bully, a racist, an ageist, a misogynist – all of whom may blame, criticise, demean, hurt, or lie to others – any identity claimed through race/ethnicity, gender or religion is overridden. It’s how we live our lives that establishes our identity, not any status claim.

  9. The Lange Labour government brought New Zealand back to its roots in the private colonisation project of the New Zealand Company backed by the military power of the British empire. As anyone who reads history will know, New Zealand was explicitly designed to be a class society.
    Now whether or not the regime’s media chooses to talk about “the working class” is beside the point. Regardless of what language it uses, the Realm of New Zealand will continue to be a class and race-based social system so long as it remains in existence. It must be destroyed before we of “the working class”, Maori and Pakeha and others, can fully realize our destiny as a people upholding mana motuhake kotahitanga and rangatiratanga.
    John, it seems you will continue in a futile and misguided struggle to make colonialism honest, compassionate, just, decent and egalitarian. I doubt that many will choose to follow where you are trying to lead.

  10. Agreeing with the sentiment that while the focus is on Maori and Pacifica, a whole segment of the working class society is being actively discouraged and ignored. If 38% of state housing applicants are not Maori or Pacifica you get an idea how large this ignored underbelly is.

    It is from there that the future “red necks” will generate from. After all white trash is the picture that is painted and moniker applied, if you are working class and not Maori and Pacifica you ain’t worth nothing.

    So no wonder we have racism if one or two race is favoured over others.

    Reminds me of the song Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road.

    “I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
    They draft the white trash first,’round here anyway”.

    • it does have to be said -RNZ I’m looking at you…the continual presentation of ‘problems’ as human interest stories with ‘young mum’ ‘disability’ ‘race’ etc.. serves as a drip drip drip of ‘oh so they’re the problem’ for the middle class to fuel their distain….most issues are class based…but NZ loves a good ‘human interest distraction piece’ the ultimate aim being as Charlie Brooker would say another ‘oh dearism that nothing can be done about’…

  11. It seems to me that that economic ‘Pie’ has been sliced a few too many times. So much so there is nothing left to share.
    Yep. For the last 5 years or more, I’ve experienced diminishing support for people who are poor, from the union sector.
    They’ve been discriminatory most of the time but when it comes to an election! They suck up to the poor working class and feed them full of hope and expectation so much so that you’d think that they mean it!
    Lil ole NZ has been divided for quite some time and it is only becoming more apparent in times like these. Austerity is still a thing!
    When social support agencies have to be relied on by the working poor to feed their families by collecting food parcels,11 million (3000+ tonnes of food) so far this year!
    1.1 Billion dollars of debt accumulated with MSD/WINZ that will never be paid back with mounting motel costs added every week.
    Poor people probably work the hardest in NZ just to survive let alone live.
    Merry Xmas to those that believe in it, because I surely don’t.

  12. The 2018 census showed 16 per cent Maori 9 per cent Pacifica 15 per cent Asian. 2 of these are prodominantly in the low income sector and I believe much of thst is ue to the attitude towards education. I am sure Maori and Pacifica are not less intelligent but many of their parents are less inclined to push the need to well at school.

    • No! It is not due to the attitude toward education trev. It is due to poverty and a system that is loaded with bias and unnecessary tribalism of the western kind.

      So fuck that racist trope off.

      • Ok Denny, agreed that Maaori poverty is undoubtedly a big factor.

        When you say the “system” is loaded with Western bias, I assumed you mean the education system? A couple of questions for you:
        1. What would an unbiased (or at least less-biased) education system look like?
        2. If the problem is “Western” bias, how do you explain the success of many Asian kids, who interestingly have the highest rates of school attendance of any ethocultural group in NZ?

        • Well the broad based first ‘question’ would be possibly based on the dilemma under the concept of ‘communality’ versus the concept of the neo liberal concept of the ‘rugged individual’. And a big problem with that is there is no frontier left to conquer. There is no room left for the westward expansion thus no longer use for the concept of ‘manifold destiny’. And ofc I am referencing the American westward movement. As a classic example.

          The second is merely , that, in the historical carving up of China under the western powers [since before Mao,] there has been a push to catch up. And that they have done, and not just China. Thus, ”the success of many Asian kids, who interestingly have the highest rates of school attendance of any ethocultural group in NZ” is frequently explained by very wealthy Asian parents who send their children here [ or used to before covid ] to study. And study they must if they want to continue on in the family’s wealth.

          Now consider the proportion of population so privileged compared to Kiwi kids, and you see the fallacy of your argument. It is a numbers game. Pure and simple. With wealth the defining factor. To which ‘Kiwi kids’ have no equivalent ratings by which to measure by.

          In other words,…. it is a loaded dice.

          • As for the Asian children and their success at schools, it ia a world wide phenomenon. During communist times there came a number of workers from Vietnam to Czechoslovakia. They were not rich, they worked mainly in factories. Most of their children were the best students at all types of schools including universities (all education free). So it is not only and primarily wealth driving these people to achive. The sad fact is that many European and other families have lost that drive. And Maori had it. Dr. Shane Reti is a good example but there are many like him.
            Imagine that this government would invest all the money they have invested to promote Maori culture (all the advisors in state sector, the courses of tikanga etc., etc.) to promote education, housing etc. for all and especially for those in need. The cultural needs could be met by Maori trusts.
            The other problem is promoted 50 – 50 co-governance on all levels. 50% of elected representatives and 50% of iwi chiefs. Where is democracy in that?

            • You are right Alexandra. To be democratic governance should be 100% in the hands of “iwi chiefs”. If you can see that rangatiratanga is demonstrably more democratic than the Westminster system of government, then there is hope for other denizens of the Daily Blog.

              • I am sorry but I cannot see it. I can understand how Westminster system operates but I cannot see that rangatiratanga is more democratic because there is no accessible information about how it operates as a political system. What are you going to do with 73% of Non-Maori population?

                • You cannot sum up rangatiratanga in a paragraph any more than you could describe the Westminster system in a few words, but frankly there is no excuse for the widespread ignorance among Europeans about rangatiratanga and how it works.
                  Prior to 1840 the non-Maori population was subject to rangatiratanga and actually influenced the evolution of that system of governance among Maori, so there is no problem with incorporating non-Maori into rangatiratanga
                  The essence of the rangatira system is that it is simple, organic, dynamic, based on personal relationships and giving personal agency to all. It also has a strong moral element – in other words it is not about giving effect to personal ambitions or furthering personal or sectional interests. You will be unlikely to find on a marae the kind of unseemly self-interest that infects the politicians of the Westminster system.
                  “Election” of a rangatira is mutual and immediately revocable but cannot be negated by any person or persons who are not parties to the relationship, or by any impersonal process. A person chooses a leader/community and a leader/community accepts a follower/member or not as the case may be. A person may transfer his or her allegiance to another leader or community at any time and for any reason. So in the pure form of rangatiratanga there are no elections, and no election campaigns. The system is fluid, flexible yet stable and highly democratic. The stability comes from the fact that no outside political process (an election) can separate a leader from his or her followers and no shifts in the political balance of power can eliminate the mana of a leader, as happens when a member of parliament loses his or her seat or a party loses its majority in parliament. The flexibility comes from the fact that people can make an immediate and effective elective response to the actions or omissions of a leader or to changing circumstances in the world. It is a natural system of governance because people choose their own “political” community rather than have one imposed upon them in the form of an artificial constituency by a political system which has itself been imposed by military force.
                  There is no artificially imposed minimum or uniform size to communities (whanau, hapu, iwi) and the smallest hapu can fully and legitimately function within the wider iwi setting.
                  Would it work in the wider society? Of course it would. More efficiently, effectively and harmoniously than the Westminster system. The reason why you don’t have rangatiratanga, the reason why you don’t even know how it operates, is that rangatiratanga throughout the motu whanui would empower ordinary people and spell an end to the colonial regime’s system of divide and rule, exploitation and oppression.

                  • Thank you for explanation. But I am sorry, Geoff, I cannot see how this organic, fluid system based on personal relationship can govern the country of 5 mill. The pre 1840 history does not show the democratic character.

                    • Kia ora Alexandra
                      A modern society would have to use current technology to implement a truly democratic system of governance.
                      Do you think that God would have promised in Holy Scripture to deliver rangatiratanga to the world if that was not possible in the modern age?

          • Well some of that went over my head, WK. But seriously, Asians are studious because they’re “very wealthy” (surely not all of them) and because Chairman Mao and other post-colonial leaders kicked their arses? Ever heard of the Confucian work ethic, WK? It predates Chairman Mao by a bit.

            Yes we all know wealth/poverty is a big influence on educational motivation and attainment (didn’t you read the first sentence of my comment?). History shows us that cultural attitudes and cultural priorities are also a big influence. One famous example is the disproportionate success of American Jews in business, science, entertainment and the arts (but not sports!) – by no means all of them arrived in the US with money. Another less well-known example is the educational and economic success of Christian Greeks under the Ottoman Empire, despite economic, judicial and political discrimination – they inherited from their Byzantine ancestors a high esteem for education, while the majority of Muslim Turks remained illiterate.

            As for individualism versus collectivism, according to Hofstede’s dimensions of culture, most East Asian cultures tend towards collectivism, with China, Vietnam and South Korea all scoring very low on individualism (Japan is an exception). But NZ’s much more individualistic culture didn’t prevent immigrants from those countries from achieving in the NZ education system. So low Maaori achievement probably isn’t just about Maaori collectivism.

            More collectivism in education could have some merits. But when they students finish school (or Tertiary institutions), potential employers will want to know what an individual applicant is capable of (which of course includes their ability to contribute to teams). So there will always need to be some form of individual assessment.

      • Education is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is nothing like the panacea for the ills of the world that its proponents (most often teachers themselves) purport it to be. Education will never be the solution to inequality. It is in fact part of the problem. For doctors, lawyers, economists and engineers education opens the door to a privileged profession and keeps out the masses for whom there is no room in those professions. Education is a social drafting gate. That was more apparent in the days when the pass mark for School Certificate was adjusted up or down to ensure that only half those sitting would pass the examination. But it remains true today, and it is worse than that, because success within the education system gives no guarantee of success in the economic system.
        I started out as a forest labourer at NZFP, and deciding to “better myself” enrolled at the New Zealand School of Forestry, graduating top of my class. However, unlike my classmates, I could not obtain professional employment, and the reason why was the colonialist structure of the New Zealand forest industry. I remain a forest labourer to this day. In the mind of a colonialist some are destined to be labourers and some to be managers, and no amount of educational achievement will change that.
        Even if race prejudice and political discrimination can be overcome, the nature of colonialist society is and always will be that some are born to rule and others to serve.
        The colonialist media plays a critical role in this contrived inequality. A friend brought me a copy of “Viva” magazine which was mostly devoted to the “revolutionary” British designer Mary Quant but included a full page article on a New Zealand businesswoman who is producing a brand of cast iron frypans. Nothing wrong with that, except that the only creative element that she personally brought to the project was “product design”. Well, a cast iron frypan is a cast iron frypan. They were perfected centuries ago. The real challenge is in the process of casting, which is hot and hard work requiring a considerable measure of skill and “know how”. Yet the foundry doing the work was not named and received barely a mention. Both the designer/entrepreneur and the foundry workers will receive financial remuneration commensurate with the credit given to them in the media rather than in accordance their actual contribution to the production of a frypan. That means a lot in the former case, and the absolute minimum in the latter.
        Education won’t change that. Revolution will. But not a revolution of the Mary Quant kind.

        • What kind of revolution? What will the new order look like? Who will lead the revolution? Who will be responsible for the outcome? What will happen to opponents of the revolution?
          Wouldn’t it be better to work on democracy, that people would have more say?

          • Kia ora Alexandra
            “Working on democracy” is precisely the task of the revolution. The defects of western “democracy” are all too apparent. People do not get to “choose their own leaders”. They distrust politicians and the political system. The outcomes of elections are suspect. Politicians do not deliver on their promises and cannot be called to account. These problems are easily solved in principle but require a revolutionary transformation of society.

            • Hello, Geoff, but you did not answer my questions, what kind of revolution, violent, or through reforms? Who is going to lead that change, what will the new system look like and what will happen to opponents?

              • I did not answer those questions because I am not God, and I cannot answer as to who will lead the move for change in this motu, who will oppose it, or what the outcome will be.
                I do know that as a people nga tangata motu are compassionate, tolerant and forgiving. They do not initiate violence, they do not seek utu and they have the wisdom to know that no sustainable system of government can be imposed on a people against their will.
                The “new system” is actually “the old system” adapted to present day conditions. To see what it looks like, spend some time watching and listening on a marae.

                • Geoff, I can write the same about European and Asian people, that they are compassionate, loving, non violent, respecting freedom of others. The best way to know how their system works, go, visit their churches (where unlike to marae, you can go freely without being invited).

                  • Kia ora ano Alexandra.
                    You seem to be unaware that nga tangata motu cormprises people of every race. Maori, Pakeha, Polynesian, Asian, Caucasian and all the rest.
                    I do not dispute that churches, synagogues, mosques, temples (and marae) are better places of learning than houses of parliament or congressional assemblies.
                    Present at a marae and you will be invited on. Not very different to a church.

                    • Hello, Geoff, thank you for answer. I wanted to say that there is a considerable difference between how people behave and treat each other in churches, marae etc. and the way how they behave and treat each other in secular environment. What works well in these small communities does not work in states, for example you need laws, police, courts to impose secular justice (we are not angels and crimes should be punished), which means you need the body that give laws etc.

    • Poverty is not caused by indifference to education, decided that I could do better and went to enrolled at the New Zealand School of Forestry. I worked bloody hard, just as I had in the bush, and graduated top of my year, but found myself unable to obtain employment in a professional role in New Zealand and went back to working as an “unskilled” labourer. So it is not about education. The problem is colonialism, which was made very plain to me when I was applying for the jobs which my class mates (who with all due respect were “less well educated” than I) obtained without difficulty. In our rohe we have doctors, teachers, lawyers, even a judge of the supreme court, self-evidently all very “well educated”. But as the Chair of the marae committee observed

      • The Asian children are the most successful worldwide regardless of wealth. In communist Czechoslovakia we had workers from Vietnam. They were working in factories and were not rich at all.
        Their children were the best students in all types of schools includong universities. It is their drive to achieve that many European and other families lost.
        Geoff, what happened to you is clearly unfair. I know a young family who came here from Russia, both have PhD, in chemistry and biology and both could not find any job, not even in the ZOO. And other woman from Danmark speaking 6 languages did not get the job she applied for though she had years of experience in that area. I will not blame colonialism, but individual bias, maybe even corruption.

        • Because the Realm of New Zealand is a race-based state discrimination affects not only indigenous people but immigrants also. Depending on their race and country of origin, some immigrants receive preferential treatment from the regime, and others from different backgrounds face an array of discriminatory obstacles.
          If you try to follow the “bias” and “corruption” in New Zealand society to its source you will find colonialism there. Every human being has the inherent capacity for bias and corruption but it is perverse social institutions and distorted values that bring these characteristics to the fore.
          Like the rest of us, immigrants have to accept that is the way things are in this country, and to find positive value in being part of the working class (that is, the one truly honest class). Despite the fact that we still live alongside a colonial regime we are a people who champion the values of kotahitanga, mana motuhake and rangatiratanga regardless of the personal cost.
          The family from Russia and the woman from Denmark can take comfort in the fact that by virtue of the discrimination they face they become one with us – rather than one with those who seek to exploit and oppress us.

          • Geoff, but you can find bias and unfairness in every country even in those which never experienced colonialism. As you said, all people have that potential, we are not perfect and there is not a perfect system that can guarantee that these things will not happen.

            • We will never have a perfect world, but the incidence of bias and unfairness varies greatly between nations and social systems, and there are reasons behind that variation. A better social order makes for better people, and better people make for a better social order. At present the western world is descending into a vicious spiral. We need to turn that around, because ultimately it will affect all of us. Colonialism is the particular form of moral degradation which afflicts New Zealand society. In other societies (France, Britain, the US) it is the other side of the same coin i.e. the legacy of imperialism. End colonialism and Aotearoa will be move on to a better and safer track.

  13. I totally agree John and I have been frustrated by this the entire time since the last election. I am beginning to see what the conspiracy theorists are banging on about. Identity politics are divisive and the government’s behaviour is really polarising people across almost all issues. Identity politics achieve 2 things – divide and rule, us vs them, no solidarity, no consensus = less people power, more turmoil = justification for new laws limiting freedom of speech and a whole lot of other things.

    Ultimately all will be solved by a new kind of government who can take away all these problems just as long as you abandon your freedom and accept a ‘kind’ authoritarian ruler. The media and corporations are sucked into this because it makes them feel that they are showing leadership in a modern world and get cool points for virtue signalling.

    If you take the plight of Maori for example, What have the highly political He Pua Pua, 3 Waters, Maori Wards, narrow curriculum changes etc achieved? Us vs them, mistrust and division. Wouldnt Maori have been better served by a massive programme of bulk house building, a strong Maori development focus along with a greater understanding of the needs of Maori by all NZer’s (its called consensus building, we used to do it a lot) All the while genuinely but apolitically getting to grips with systemic racism.

    They have taken a political big stick to all Maori issues which has resulted in greater racism on all sides.
    Every day Maori have gained nothing. One can only conclude that the problem is not supposed to be fixed.

    • …”One can only conclude that the problem is not supposed to be fixed”…

      Bingo ! And I aint even got a dog in this fight. I’m a Scots, Norse , Irish, Swedish, German, Danish, English specimen who can trace his family back to the 8th century on my mothers side and the 9th century back to my fathers side. But unfairness is unfairness and that’s that. So whatever it takes, just do it. Sort it. And enough of all the bollix.

  14. denny,
    cultural outlook effects education, research has shown some outcomes for african americans are influenced by their cultural attitudes….like the whole ‘gangsta’ thing.
    Now those attitudes may exist because of past racism and lack of opportunity but they do have an effect…I speak with a little experience trust me in the 60s/70s in the UK ‘getting on’ wasn’t the 1st priority of the white working class—I was lucky, very lucky.

  15. Excellent commentary as usual, John.

    “Jack was as good as his master” was how this myth was expressed. Needless to say it was never a reality. Access to capital meant the social and economic structures of colonial settlement was based firmly on class. Not being seen to flaunt one’s wealth was the only concession to classlessness”…

    So many salient points:

    …”Possibly its only lasting legacy is the relative informality of dress here but that owes more to the climate than avoiding class divisions. John Key drinking beer from a bottle at a barbecue is meant to tell us we are all equal when in reality we are one of the most unequal countries in the world”…

    Actually I give up. There is just too much in your article. Its late,… and I must sleep for Chrissy. Its a beer and rum night on the eve of Christmas for me. A sailors choice. You speak from not just the heart John but from empirical and some would say, antidotal evidence. Evidence that is none the less true in our fair land. As COUNTRYBOY would say, in this land of rich plenty,…WHY are we enslaved to Australian banks and foreign / free market forces even in this post covid world? And even way before then ?!!?

    Why in this rich resourced land both marine and terrestrial,…are we still paying the piper from some foreign owned lending company aka an Australian Bank their unwelcome dues? Who did that to us? Who warranted their foreign invasion? I didn’t vote for it,… who did? Who voted for that?!!?

    My chief concern is wages and the housing crisis, and my questions are ; who gains’, ‘how do they do it’, and ‘why ‘. We all know the timeframe of when.

    1984, 4TH Labour govt, Roger Douglas, Finance Minister.

    • Thanks Peter, very useful video. They utterly skewer contemporary prog politics, don’t they. Massive student debt isn’t a problem, provided there is “racial equity” of debt. Very relevant here too – I must send the link to my local LINO MP.

  16. In depth Media sources and news outlets in NZ have pretty much targeted the middle classes, advertising remains forever aspirational. The class system here much like most immigrant nations was you could work or educate yourself into the next class level, whereas (in Britain) many of these classes were rigid in structure. These days increasingly we have different definitions of people whom are in benefit, working and middle class, people move in and out of them more often depending on their current circumstances. Increasingly more people are also asset rich and cash poor, so much so we now see huge demand for the basics by reasonably well placed people. We see contractors, many of whom are business owners AND workers- lurch from having no work to working round the clock. All in all income has become uneven and unpredictable. Traditionally Maori and Pacific families are collectives with income supporting the others, while the tax and benefit system is more geared towards individuals, what’s needed is flexibility that can respond to peoples circumstances. Ability to pay off debt is a sure enough way of deciding class levels, the flexibility in paying debts was something that has been seen during the lockdown, and should be part of standard practice. Easier options for lump sum and/or trickle payments (income and outgoings) should part of the new normal.

  17. Ach, bollix. The early Scots in the Imperial army of the Brits recognized the Maori much like themselves, ,… Clannish, fighting against a superior foe by which was technology [ read British ] , AND , – both of them KILT wearers,- the Scots in the employ of General Cameron [ himself a Scot and who later resigned because he didn’t want to fight NZ’s dirty war in the Waikato on behalf of NZ / British / Australian banks] , saw themselves as the ones they were fighting against. And what’s more?,… intermarried with.

    And so that’s why you have many happily married couples with kids of both Maori and Irish, Scots and English extraction. Why?,… Because they both got hot blooded and thought ”you’re a piece of all right” and got it on.

    And that’s just human bloody beings. We get together like that. That’s just what we do. And so it should be. We are all one family. There’s much to celebrate here in NZ. From the rough pioneer days to the year 2021. We should not let either the woke or the globalists tear that all apart. We are a peaceful people for the most part, with many lovely [ interracial] intermarriages. Never let the cynicism of globalism rip us asunder. They have no right to do that to us as a sovereign nation.

    So govt’s last for 3- 5 terms depending in which country you live in, whereas family’s last for decades upon decades. Remember that, and remember what’s best for your children’s children. That’s the old time wisdom garnered from at once fighting each other to falling in love with each other .And that old time set of values? Well that raised family’s and made a nation. And that’s good enough for me.

    I’ll leave you with this :

    Either

    Old Time Religion – Willie Nelson
    https://youtu.be/aWO6rxk0SrU?t=5

    [ from a pot smoker L0L ]

    Or:

    loretta lynn “old time religion”
    https://youtu.be/aQq9F3TacoM?t=1

    Or my fav, Johnny Cash,…

    Johnny Cash – Give Me That Old Time Religion
    https://youtu.be/EpwXEdYM10c?t=1

    Enjoy !!!

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